January 31, 2012

England in UAE 2011-12

The perils of being an England fan

Richard Kemp
An England fan attends the Abu Dhabi golf championship, Abu Dhabi
The author at the Abu Dhabi golf championship  © Richard Kemp
Enlarge

RELATED LINKS

It may have taken over two weeks but we have finally witnessed an English victory in the Emirates. Sadly it didn't come from our cricket side that had a proud recent record before a crazy two hours on the fourth afternoon. Our English victory came in the shape of Robert Rock who was victorious in the Abu Dhabi golf tournament on Sunday afternoon.

The day out at the golf was a bonus that has ensured my tour ended on a positive note. I wasn't the only one watching another sport to forget about the disappointment of the cricket. As I watched Tiger Woods just miss a bunker from the fourth tee, I found myself surrounded by half the Sky Sports commentary team. David "Bumble" Lloyd, always keen on a chat, quipped, "There are worse ways to spend a day off than this!"

I certainly wasn't in a positive mood whilst watching our chase. Watching from the stands as wicket after wicket fell, you had a sinking feeling that this was going to go down in folklore as one of England's worst displays. I expected a backlash after the Dubai performance, which Stuart Broad and Monty Panesar gave us, but sadly, our batsmen let us down again. It's a strange feeling watching your side capitulate under pressure, and by the time Jimmy Anderson was caught on the boundary to end the misery, I knew it was time to go home.

I've left the UAE with mixed feelings. On one hand the Abu Dhabi match was everything I look for in an overseas Test (minus the England second-innings collapse, of course). The Test itself couldn't have been much more dramatic, and to be played out in front of a large number of Pakistani expats made it feel like a proper sporting event.

On the other hand I am more than happy not to be returning to Dubai Sports City for the final match. Having time to reflect and look back after the success of the time spent in Abu Dhabi, Dubai really wasn't a great spectator experience. Perhaps the next match, which starts on a Friday, will have more support to create some sort of an atmosphere in what is undoubtedly one of my least favourite international venues. It's a shame a match couldn't have been scheduled in Sharjah, where Pakistan traditionally get good support.

For the time being for me it is back to the 5.30am alarm call and my widescreen television for the rest of this tour. Perhaps England will finally win a Test on this trip. The odds must have improved, given that one chap I met on the flight home has just completed his tenth Test match overseas spread over 14 years and has yet to see England win!

Perhaps that is what makes being an England fan so great. Even if the team wins, loses or draws, we keep coming back for more. Watching your cricket side abroad is a great experience. If there is anyone reading this that is thinking of doing it, go ahead and do it. Even if your team's top order keeps collapsing you'll have no regrets!

RSS Feeds: Richard Kemp

Keywords: Offbeat, Touring

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Bilal Ahmad on (February 5, 2012, 10:23 GMT)

I think we should pay some respite to Misbah, the way he jelled up his young guns towards a transformation into a winning combo. Thumbs up for Misb for their teams.ah and even the coach Mohsin. In my view point subcontinent teams have to work out modalities to counter seem pitches in England and South Africe. Subsequently same efforts should be put in by ECB and CSA

Posted by Stuart B on (February 4, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

I think Alistair's being a little harsh when he says, "Local commentators praised their own batters and bowlers - it would be awful to suggest Indians were just crap in both areas". The press coverage about the batsmen was unusually realistic and measured: Warner - brilliant but inconsistent; likely weakness against spin Cowan - limited, but gritty and shows some promise Marsh - horribly out of touch Ponting - a revelation Clarke - some wonderful captain's knocks; hot and cold Hussey - welcome return to form Haddin - a mediocre series with gloves and bat

Surely the Indian batsmen were crap because the Aussie bowlers made them look crap through consistent line and length. Twelve months ago if you'd seen the line-up for this series (Siddle, Harris, Hilfenhaus, Pattinson, Starc, Lyon) you'd say they wouldn't beat any Test nation, let alone India. Would you say Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Dhoni are not good enough batsmen to face fast-medium bowlers on good batting pitches?

Posted by Khurram butt on (February 4, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

Hahaha did u say english fans ? ? ? U dont have an english side :-P u guyz have players from ireland, southafrica, india , pakistan , and u call ur selves world beaters ! Its a joke and the truth is in front of your eyes what PAKISTAN is doing to your so called england team

Posted by Ali on (February 2, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

@ Dr. relax, enjoy the game and leave the politics out for sometime. No society or individual is perfect.

Good article and I share the same frustration when my team sucks and I invest so much just to see them lose miserably.

Posted by James on (February 2, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

@Dr T. Ahmed. So England bat poorly against spin because of a decline in social values? Here was me thinking it was to do with footwork. Must be my colonial mentality stopping me from seeing that link! Thanks for setting the record straight "Dr"

Posted by Harvey on (February 2, 2012, 0:51 GMT)

@Dr T. Ahmed, if you read what Richard is saying, you will realise that his dislike of Dubai has nothing to do with a "colonial mentality," and is mainly due to the lack of atmosphere at the venue compared with that in Abu Dhabi. Richard's suggestion that a match should have been scheduled in Sharjah instead of having two Tests in Dubai is one that a lot of Pakistan supporters also made as soon as it became known that Sharjah's ground had been refurbished and brought back to international standard.

Posted by Taimur Khan on (February 1, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

The comment about England's performance related to the decline in values is shocking. Cricket is about character more than skill, and the English character is admirable. I am Pakistani and I cannot imagine the english standing for the kind of government we passively accept. Mr. T. Ahmad should reflect on the values close to home before criticising the English. I am not an anglophile, I hated the colonial occupation but the reason they mastered us is because the company paid regular salaries, pensions, ruled by law and meted justice, while our rulers were decadent, corrupt, mad and avaricious. We are still the same rabble we ever were. With unlimited coal, gas & oil under the ground, we face loadshedding, crippling oil and gas prices etc.

Posted by Dr T. Ahmed on (January 31, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

England' performance (despite its spurious No 1 ranking) is really a reflection of the decaying of its social values. I have the opportunity to visit London several times in the last six months and the hopelessnes and resentment I have noticed in the community is frightening. I admire you in supporting your team but you should get over your colonial mentality of superiority over people of othe nations and may be then you will enjoy going and watching cricket (despite the outcome) in other countresm evn Dubai.

Posted by Alastair Dunham on (January 31, 2012, 8:45 GMT)

lovely piece to read - have lived in Oz since 1986 - saw Mike Gatting's team win thence a drought - every Ashes test series was a trial - but one knew that the karma in the universe would bring England victory - 2005 was brilliant! The following whitewash in Oz was just a blip as each game England might have won. Remember, England had only to make 300odd on final day and KP chipped to midwicket first thing on the 5th day - if only. Thence back to England and the Ashes back to the Northern Hemisphere. I can only cross my fingers, now that Oz appear to be resurgent that the losing Indians led them into a false sense of security.Local commentators praised their own batters and bowlers - it would be awful to suggest Indians were just crap in both areas(I read this as an excuse for Oz losses everyday) Oz were going to drop Ponting and Mike Hussey - lucky they did not. Being an England fan is great - you always know there will be a surprise - by the way didn't Pakistan bowl well

Posted by Sujan on (January 31, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Its true Richard, I can imagine how u must b feeling now. But it’s the story of all the cricket nations when they visit overseas. I think u have the news, how India washed by I mean white washed by Australia recently n by your own team few months earlier as well. People from England, Australia points out on subcontinent players for not having enough skill to cope up with swing n bounce. And v finger point on England that the players don’t know how to hold bat on subcontinent pitches. But do the board or players care for this, in a interview few days earlier I heard homeless Mr. boycott blaming England cricket board for not having enough test cricket in domestic circuit, n I feel sorry when I think about the attitude of BCCI. So I think our roller coaster ride of being a fan will continue in future as well. We will get all the joy n we will be on high during a home series but when team will tour overseas the same story of disappointment and helplessness.

Comments have now been closed for this article